The words pro-life, pro-family and the like get used often, and it seems the meaning vary somewhat. My use of the terms to apply to my own beliefs certainly fall within the usual meanings but it’s also safe to say that I also have my own angle in the concepts.
The first thing I would like to say is that the political application of the terms is only part of what they mean. The political side cannot be denied undervalued, yet in itself it’s not enough to envelop a truly pro-life and pro-family belief. A post is on the way exploring the political angle, but I would never want to give the impression that being politically pro-life is enough.
Pro-life and pro-family beliefs need to be a part of our day-to-day actions and interactions with other people. These values are like a family itself; there is both law and love, and they must go hand in hand. Law without love loosing meaning, and love without law looses focus. As Frank Sinatra has told us so many times, they “go together like a horse and carriage.”
Thirdly, I believe in these values are strongest with a sense of openness; not openness as in wishy-washiness or weasely way of using these terms to justify things contrary to life or family, but openness in that they must be shared with all. Not everyone can or will have a family, or live in the ideal mom-dad-kids-dog family arrangement. But traditional, focused family values have to be understood in such a way that even those that aren’t can to a large extent can participate and benefit from it. This will take some clarification, but more on that later.
Finally, it’s worth pointing out that pro-life and pro-family go together not because they are politically compatible, but rather because life comes from families. Whether broken or whole, the beginning of human life is so closely tied to family that to separate them causes deep and lasting harm; our own society offers a clear example. To begin life without family is to rob a child of their natural right. And family without bringing new life into the world – when willingly chosen – is not only to lose one of the two chief purposes of marriage but it’s also the loss of one of the greatest blessings life can bring.
Over the next couple of weeks, I plan to discuss the different elements of being pro-life and pro-family a little more closely.